New England Patriots defeat Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-21

A few years ago, linebacker Tedy Bruschi came up with a saying for games like the one the Patriots played yesterday.

He called them hat-and-T-shirt contests.

The idea was simple. With a win, players would find championship hats and T-shirts waiting for them in their lockers.

"You know you've accomplished something when you have a hat and T-shirt," Bruschi said as he donned a black AFC East Championship hat following the Patriots' 24-21 victory over the Jaguars yester...

The difference between the teams was the quarterback position. Or, rather, the men playing that position.

Nothing else separated the Patriots from the Jaguars yesterday. There was little to pick between their ill-tempered defenses, and not enough of a difference in their running games to decide the outcome. New England's rookie kicker nearly made the difference in an alarming way, missing a field goal that set up one Jaguars touchdown and launching a kickoff out of boun...

The last time the Patriots played here Paul McCartney was the halftime entertainment, Adam Vinatieri was making every big kick, Deion Branch was the game MVP, and half of the literary world was working on a book about Theo Epstein and the world champion Red Sox. Most New England ponds were frozen and nobody ever had heard of YouTube, Borat, or Daisuke Matsuzaka.

And the Patriots won, 24-21.

A lot of water has passed under the Hart Bridge next to Alltel Stadium since ...

As quarterback Tom Brady lay on the ground in the fourth quarter, the result of a bruising hit, the Patriots had a brief moment to consider what life would be like without their key leader.

The Patriots were driving for their final touchdown and faced third and 6, when Brady scrambled out of the pocket and raced 7 yards. Brady didn't slide, leaving him vulnerable to a hard hit on the back of his right throwing shoulder by Jaguars rookie linebacker Clint Ingram.

"I wa...